Local organization engages children in music and the arts at little to no cost

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KCRG) — For the past 15 years, a middle school teacher in eastern Iowa has been helping kids explore the arts at little to no cost. And there’s an upcoming event that can help sustain that effort.

David Griffin is the founder of the nonprofit Eastern Iowa Arts Academy in Cedar Rapids. His passion is to give children an alternative outlet. He started it in 2007 because he wanted something to do for kids who might not be into sports.

“I just saw the great need for after-school activities for kids who love arts and music, creative writing theater, so we started a little nonprofit together,” Griffin said.

Since the beginning, he has gone from a single class to music and art sessions all over Cedar Rapids. Griffin says it helped the kids come out of their shells.

“More importantly, the emotional point of view of the arts is so crucial,” Griffin said. “Especially these days, after COVID, we only see really extreme cases where kids need something to engage with, they need someone to confide in.”

Eastern Iowa Arts Academy offers its services to families at little or no cost, and it is thanks to various fundraisers that they have organized. This includes their Junkin’ sale, where people can browse through items to buy. The money goes towards their financial aid program. It is scheduled for the Eastern Iowa Arts Academy parking lot at 1841 E Avenue northeast in Cedar Rapids on August 19 and 20.

Griffin considers the benefits of the program to be invaluable for the children.

“It gives them self-esteem. It makes them part of a community if you will. other like-minded people who have the same talents and interests.

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Alice P. Darby